Fr. Caoimhn Neill and Fr. John Byrne have been conferred with the title Monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI in recognition of their distinguished service in our diocese.


Two new Monsignors honoured

Fr. Caoimhn Neill, President of Carlow College, St. Patrick’s and Fr. John Byrne PP, Portlaoise have been conferred with the title Monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI, because of their years of esteemed ministry in the diocese.

Bishop Moriarty made the announcement at the annual Chrism Mass in the Cathedral of the Assumption on Wednesday evening. In recognising the pastoral ministry of both priests Bishop Moriarty expressed his grateful appreciation and congratulations to both.

“Whether in their particular appointments or in their work at diocesan level both have generously and courageously exercised a priestly ministry rooted in Gospel values. They have served their fellow priests and the people of the diocese well and are very deserving of this special honour”.

Monsignor Caoimhn Neill

Msgr. O’Neill was ordained in 1969 and has exercised most of his priestly ministry in Carlow College, St. Patrick’s, where he is currently its President. Mainly thanks to his vision and commitment, Carlow College, with its honourable tradition of training men for the priesthood, has emerged as a leading third level Catholic College providing courses in Humanities and Social Care. As the numbers training for priesthood decreased it was Msgr. O’Neill who inspired the rejuvenation of Carlow College as a major third level catholic education centre in the south-east.

The new VISUAL arts centre and George Bernard Shaw Theatre on the grounds of Carlow College is a reflection of his interest in arts and culture, he has a zeal for the promotion of the Irish language and has been at the heart of the development of igse in Carlow.

Msgr. O’Neill, is a native of Trumera, Co. Laois. He has also served in Edenderry, Co. Offaly between 1969 and 1972.

Monsignor John Byrne

Msgr. John Byrne was ordained in 1974 and has served in the parishes of Suncroft, Kildare, Naas and Carlow Cathedral. He is currently Parish Priest of Portlaoise. His ministry in each parish has been inspiring and prophetic.
Msgr. Byrne brought his various gifts to bear on parish projects of all kinds and has always been a thoughtful and clear preacher of the gospel.

The re-ordering of churches in the various parishes where he served and the administration of diocesan finances over the last few years have been significant elements of his priestly ministry. Msgr. Byrne is a native of Tullow, Co. Carlow and was recently selected as Laois Person of the Year’ for his tireless work on a range of parish/community projects in the Portlaoise area.